It started off as me doing a swim of 100 lengths of a moderately sized pool to tie in with the title of my book, to raise money for British Polio Fellowship and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
However as a result of the publicity when my book launched I was approached by the British Polio Fellowship and asked if I would be an ambassador for them.
I gladly agreed as they were instrumental in teaching me to swim as a young child after I had contracted and survived the killer disease aged fourteen months. They also asked if I would mind delaying the swim until July as it could be the launch event for Polio Awareness month. Again I agreed and from there things have snowballed a bit.
Wouldn't it be great if we could get Paralympian sliver medallist, James Crisp, also an ambassador for BPF, involved? The question was asked and he has agreed to take part.
Of course we would need to have a master of ceremonies for the event and who better than the voice of swimming for Radio 5 and the Paralympics, Bob Ballard, who just happens to be a QVC fan. A couple of texts and a phonecall later and we had our host.
Then there was the slight issue of a Pool. I didn't want to pay for a venue as I wanted as much money as possible to go to the two charities. I approached Trinity School in Croydon as my children had swum there in galas when they were younger and I knew they had a viewing gallery. I have no connection with this school but they couldn't have been more helpful and supportive, offering the use of the pool for the gala free of charge. Particular thanks go to Thomas Blyth for his help.
As I mentioned the swim will also be for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and my contact there is former Crystal Palace and England footballer Geoff Thomas who ten years ago was diagnosed with the same blood cancer I now have.
Since his bone marrow transplant and subsequent recovery Geoff has been instrumental in raising huge amounts of money which go towards researching new drugs to treat all types of blood cancer. He is happier riding a bike than swimming but I have managed to persuade him to strip down to his speedos to take part and another former Palace player, John Salako, has been 'persuaded' to swim as well.
I have also asked my presenter colleagues at QVC if they can take part and so far I have yes's from Debbie Flint, Carmel, Ali Keenan, Chloe and Anna dependant on 'on air' commitments as it is Super Sunday on QVC that day!
The emphasis on the day is fun with races like the pyjama race, inflatable race, tandem race, obstacle race etc. and if you think you would like to come please reply on this blog and then I can contact you via email as places are limited. The date is 7th July and it is from 11am – 1.30pm. There will be no admission charge but a donation to the charities would be very much appreciated.
And that is the serious side of this day, we are trying to raise money for these two charities and if you feel you would be able to help here is the link to the virgingiving page
You could be the first to sponsor me!
Have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend and I'll look forward to your company for the Decleor TSV launch Saturday midnight… You won't want to miss it